A good time to edge into it

CESSNOCK local Chris Ingle knows a fair bit about freshwater angling and reckons there’s fish for the picking at this time of year out at local impoundments like Lake St Clair, Glenbawn and Lostock Dam.

The key, of course, is to get the right tackle on your line and adapt tactics to the seasons.

Last Monday Chris bagged seven bass and a yellow belly working the banks at Lake St Clair fishing with his father.

‘‘I had a flick with my fly rod and caught one bass that was 42 cm which took a black and red wollybugger fished on a floating line,’’ Chris reported.

‘‘If you work the edges mid-morning to mid-arvo at this time of year, you’ll get fish feeding on tussocks in the shallower water.

‘‘The fish move out of the thermal climbs out deeper in the lake and head into the shallows, which heat up a couple of degrees during the day.’’

Thermal climbs, Chris explained, are regions of warmer water in the lake.

‘‘Fish will sit in them and feed,’’ he said. ‘‘So at this time of year, you fish gentleman hours – 8am to 3pm. You go along with your sounder if you’ve got a boat, and if you see fish schooled up, they’re probably in a thermal climb. Some sounders have temperature gauges on them so you might be able to detect the differences in temp.

‘‘The thing to do is then work blades, or bibless minnows, or spinner baits down deep.

‘‘People who throw lures tend to miss the thermal climbs.’’

Chris suggests you take different approaches to fishing inland waters depending on whether it’s spring/summer or autumn/winter.

In spring/summer he says it pays to work the surface because there are insects about and the fish will be feeding on them.

But come the colder months, it pays to work the edges and go a bit deeper.

‘‘There’s no insects about this time of year, so the fish aren’t on the surface, but they are in there, they’re just down in the four- to six-foot region around the edges.

‘‘I like to cast to structure – weedbeds, points – sometimes in open bays the fish will be moving between weed beds.’’

As anyone knows who’s been up to places like St Clair, Lostock Dam or Glenbawn, it’s a beautiful place to spend time.

‘‘You just need a coat and beanie for travelling,’’ Chris advised. ‘‘It gets a bit brisk out on the water.’’

Chill out, bro

FISHING out wide this weekend will be a no-go, with big seas and winds making it a hostile environment.

However, game fishing guru Tim Dean was out last weekend and reports conditions on the Shelf are very good.

‘‘We’ve certainly seen a change of season,’’ Tim said yesterday.

‘‘We’re seeing lots of winter birds, lots of pilchard schools, seals and whales on the move.

‘‘The presence of so many birds means there’s miles of bait. They’ve been catching yellowfin tuna off the canyons at Norah Head last week. And we saw acres of mac tuna the other day.

‘‘There’s also been a big push of warm water, 24degrees, today. A couple of blue marlin have been hooked lately too.’’

Tim went snapper fishing on Monday and bagged out on reds up to 6kg.

Rug up, they’re waiting

JASON ‘‘One For’’ Nunn, from Fishermans Warehouse, reports there’s stacks of fish about, you just have to brave the elements to get them.

Johnny Frith bagged out on bream fishing with Steve Mason off Coal Point last Saturday night.

They got a couple of nice squire and tailor mixed in with it.

Ron Owen fished Friday night and got bream up to 40cm, a 1kg tailor and a couple of salmon and flounder.

‘‘They’ve all been solid bream,’’ Jason said. ‘‘Travelling fish – small head, high back.

‘‘When the sea bream are running, you notice they have smaller head than the normal yellowfin bream, proportional to the body.

‘‘You tend to get more meat off the travellers.’’

Jason said there’s plenty of luderick biting on weeds round the rocks.

Swansea channel is alive with salmon and some very handy kingfish up to 8kg.

An angler known to Jason as ‘‘John the Jeweller’’ got a 12kg mulloway through the week. Jew have also been coming off the beaches as they chase mullet up the coast.

Go forth and multiply

OVER four million fish bred from government hatcheries, including some from Port Stephens Fisheries Centre, were released into NSW waterways this year, the Department of Primary Industries said this week.

Fish stocks included 2,014,104 rainbow trout, 224,540 Atlantic salmon, 58,000 brook trout, 639,500 brown trout, 453,200 Murray cod, 579,000 golden perch, 18,000 silver perch and 7000 Australian bass.

So with that many fish out there, if you can’t catch something, you must be in another state.

Planning is already under way for 2011-12, with Glenbawn Dam earmarked.

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